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A Russian way:

Modernization in non‑Western Cultures

I/ Its four volumes:

v. 1: "Cross-Cultural differences: Jamato vs. Pax Americana or Reasons for the Japanese Miracle." Moscow, 1991.

v. 2: "Between East and West." Moscow, 1992.

v. 3: "The Meaning of 'Economy' in non-Western Cultures." Moscow, 1992.

v. 4: "Socium and Cultures.” Moscow, 1992.

II/ Outline:


Introduction: Modernization, westernization, development or what?

a) Can one regard economy as the main or the only driving force of social changes?

b) Values and their meanings to Russian subjects: an experiment.

Description of the experiment.

Conclusions: moral-ethical orientation in Russian groups.

Attitudes and meanings of values, related to economy: money, market and welfare have another meanings to them. Comparison with the USA and Japan.

c) Possible explanation of the results received: genes/race, political systems; necessity to study cultural influences on social changes (both synchronic and diachronic);

d) interaction generates differences in cultures.

e) Cultures: definition. Traditions, norm, values: different approaches. L. Vygotsky about culture; Luria: the first experimental study of cross-cultural psychology and perception.

part one: Activity Approach.

Joint activity (CD) in Russian groups: an experiment.

A. Description of the experiment. Conclusions

B. Justice is regarded higher than result.

C. Inability to organize joint activity.

D. Forcing instead of persuasion.

E. Unwillingness to adhere to (social contract) Positions.

F. Anti-economic orientation of Russian subjects.

Social activity and Relevant activity.

A. L. Vygotsky's concept of (individual) activity.

B. Social activity.

C. Relevant activity (RD) as the most preferred activity for the given epoch. RD, values and aspiration level; parent messages as a mean of translation of values; shift of meanings of values after the World War II. Plans for the future: to understand inner mechanisms of cultures' development and social changes one must study the meaning of cultural variables and goals: it is RD. It is power for Russian Culture, and for more than 200 years it is economy for Western culture. This meaning can be found by means of analysis of CD.

D. Imitative (simulative, symbolic) activity.

Positional Relations: All kinds of frames we are in.

A. Affective Relations vs Positional Relations. Zimbardo's experiments: the way to make a student a prison guard. Special features of Positional Relations.

B. Positions, roles and statuses.  

C. Mediators of interaction and Positional Relations.

D. Contract system as the basis for Positional Relations.

E. Positions and classification of cultures.

The origin of Positional Relations in Western culture: personality.

A. Positional Relations and personality.

B. Self-regulation and personality.

C. Personality does not exist outside of Western culture.

D. Group vs. personality.

E. Parent messages and individual scripts. Personality, subconscious, Oedipus complex and pubertat crisis in Samoa. 

F. "Preprogrammed man" or personality.

G. A place of psychology and psychotherapy in Western culture (from Freud to Grinder).

The origin of Positional Relations in Western Culture: the Contract system.

A. Traditions, law and Positional Relations.

B. Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights and Positional Relations. Human rights, freedom of choice, elections, patriotism and Positional Relations.

C. Christianity, religion, Positional Relations and personality.

D. Positional Relations facilitate material well-being.

part two: Relevant Activity in Russia — power.

Positions and persons.

A. Holop (serf) instead of personality.

B. Russian Orthodox Church and personality.

C. "In-a-shell" individual vs. self-actualizing personality.

D. Concept of Personality in Russian psychology.

E. One must break all the frames to become a real man in Russia.

Mutual agreements and the law.

A. Unlawful dependence of one human being from another.

B. Attitude of a Russian lawyer towards presumption of innocence.

C. The function of the jury and the judge in Russia. Dyad or triad group (place of a judge in Western culture and Russia).  

D. Sud Bozhij (Judgment of God) instead of Judgment by the Law

The origins of anti-Positional Relations in Russia.

A. Peasants do not need joint activity.

B. "Jealous justice" vs. joint activity.

C. Individualism-collectivism in Russia: an experiment

D. Russia: collectivistic individualism or individualistic collectivism?  Joint activity in the culture with individualistic collectivism: artel (traditional working group in Russia).

E. Artel rejects personality, management and traditional (Western-generated) kind of scientific progress.

F. Sovest' (conscience) as the basis of joint activity in Russia.

G. Attitude towards himself and the world in the XX century's Russia.

H. Obshchina (commune) and joint activity.

I. Veche and sobornost' [decision-making with the help of joint discussion] vs. hierarchy.

J. Time as the way of organizing joint activity (comparison of Russia and Western culture).  

K. Supplement 2. Osborn.

L. Supplement 3.Triandis

Nachalnik (a superior with unlimited authority) in Russia instead of a manager.

A. A Managerial Position in joint activity. Nachalnik is also only a holop for any Nachalnik from the top level.

B. Origins of the relation "pan-holop" in Russia. Tsar (the king) in Russia is always "out of the brackets" of social interaction.  Chess a la Russe. Where Hlestakovs appear from.


A. Subordinates' expectations from their Nachalnik: the Russian ideal of the leader—an experiment.

B. Nachalnik as a podmikitchik (pogonyalo—a speeder).

C. Distrust in Nachalnik.

D. A dominator: his main aim is his/her personal success.

E. Two kinds of Dominators.

F. Carrier planning in Russia.

G. Nachalnik's expectations from his subordinates: dominators generate apathy.

H. Subordinates: constant and insistent searches for unbiased criteria. Personnel assessment in Russia.

The speeders.

A. A Nachalnik as a petty tyrant.

B. Usmotrenie (subjective judgment) instead of the law.

C. Managers vs. speeders.

D. A Russian axis: from Makar to Makar (was Dostoevsky right?).

The main features of the regulatory system in Russia.

A. Process instead of end results: three types of organizations.

B. Process instead of end results: an experiment.

C. The word povinnosty (obligations) originates in Russian from the word vina (faults).

The Regulatory system as a self-perfecting object (SPO).

A. Self-perfecting objects

B. The reasons for and the process of finalizing the regulatory system.

C. The stages of finalizing.

Ethnocultural background of the Soviet regulatory system. 

A. Preconditions.

B. Finalizing: step 1.

C. Finalizing: step 2.

D. Packs and factions.

E. Psychological implications of the Soviet regulatory system: Curators and "kurirovanie" (curators activity).

F. A psychology of favorites.

G. Transforming a man into the "Human Factor".

H. Hutor (a farm) instead of a market.

Absence of bureaucrats in Russia and other non-Western cultures.

part three: Relevant Activity in Western culture—economy.

Economy means "costs for benefits."

A. Economy as a special kind of social activity to adapt to the natural environment.

B. Economy as a self-perfecting object.

C. Economy and the future (paradox of postponed pleasure).

A real meaning of "economy" to a "common" man from non-Western cultures (Japan, Russia).

A. Money in different cultures.

B. Town and village.

C. Peasant is oriented on luck instead of rational efforts.

D. Freedom, personality and attitude to economy.

Phases of modern (Western) industrial system formation as the Relevant Activity "economy."

A. A role of (Catholic) religion in creating attitude to economy.

Non-economic orientation of Russian culture.

A. Town and economy in Russia.

B. Economy from the point of view of a Russian economist: economic antonovshchina (a famous bandit coup).

C. Podvizhnik (a hermit) and monks as an ideal to Russian economists.

D. Volunteers and communards as a variant of Podvizhnik.

E. Hesychasm as a source of Russian economic thought.

F. Entrepreneurship in different cultures. Entrepreneurship in Russia.

G. Attitudes of Russians towards cooperatives.

H. Krepostnoj (serf) cooperative. Attitudes towards market and economy (meaning of "profit," "money," private property); impossibility to trade with those, who do not need to trade.

part four: Reform-making.

Social changes in developing countries.

A. Population growth.

B. Food shortages in developing countries.

C. Technology in developing countries: can a buffalo be more effective, than a tractor?

Reforms in Far Eastern Culture.

A. Special features of Far Eastern Culture.

B. Forcing and the success of reform making.

C. Feudalism in Japan.

D. Japan on the verge of the XX century.   

The ethnocultural basis of Japanese regulatory system reform after World War II. 

A. Group is higher than personality.

B. Harmony within the group as the way to preserve group entity.

C. Every man knows his place within a group. Affective regulation of relations in a group.

Different ends of reforms demand different means.

Social changes in Russia. 

A. Forcing as the permanent basis of reform making.

B. Examples of unsuccessful reforms.

C. Motives of reform-makers.

D. Unexpected results of reforms.

E. Two subcultures in Russia.  

F. "Russia takes from Europe something pleasant, not useful" (V. O. Klyuchevskij). 

G. Democratic reforms in Russia and their implications.

H. Cooperative reforms: differences between cooperatives in the XIX and XX centuries.

Regulatory system as a source of social changes.

A. "Leaders-subordinate" relation's types: classification of regulatory systems. .

1. Different regulatory systems as an outcomeof differences in cultures.

2. Druzhina (the body-guard) and artel.

3. Leader-magician and the Novgorod veche (popular assembly).

4. Family.

5. Seigniorial system and the modern European system.

B. Sources of information for joint activity.

C. "Invariant points" in interaction.

D. Rank (status) regulatory systems vs. Continuous regulatory systems.

E. Once more about the differences between Affective and Positional Relations.

F. Methods to set up joint activity in different cultures. Three types of social groups. 

Forecasting and social changes.

A. Culture variables and forecasting.

B. An example of a forecast: Relevant Activity and basic culture orientations.

C. Types of orientations.

D. Orientation on creativity in Western Culture.

Types of Relevant Activities.

A. Relevant Activity as a specific form of social activity.

B. Worship-rejection as a mechanism of changes in RD.

C. Mimicry and transfer as a mechanisms of changes in RD.

D. Perception of the past and future and social regulation: Faceback

E. Reframing

F. Sociopathies.

G. Activity spheres: adaptive activity (AA), integrative activity (IA) and creative activity (CA).

H. Mode of production vs. Relevant Activity.

I. An "Asiatic" mode of production and Russia.

J. Gross National Product and welfare: influence of Relevant Activity.

K. Different strategies of modernization in the XX century.

L. Socio-dynamics and social memory.

M. Social technology and artificial environment.

N. Future: Superculture or cultures?

O. Introduction to the popular reformology.

Socium and cultures. 

A. Socio-genesis and classification of cultures.

1. Three types of groups: micro-group, meso-group, macro-group.  

B. Priority of Socium over person.

C. Culture as a way to adapt to the world.  

D. Culture as an artificial man-made environment.

E. Synchronic and diachronic studies and explorations of culture.

F. Method of analogy: was a primitive man really primitive?

G. Ethnos plays different roles in cultures.

H. "We-image" and "They-image".

I. Three scales to assess cultures.

J. The Super-culture and a self-actualizing personality.

K. The origins of Russia.

L. Russian psychology: the last remarks.  

Some necessary methodological remarks


What to do, to get rid of backwardness; cultures and macro-economy—towards a new model for developing countries. To change something in a culture one has to start from children.

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created 2007_04_02

renewed 2008_01_31